Latino Inaugural 2021 celebrates the resilience and power of U.S. Latinos ahead of Biden’s inauguration
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Latino Inaugural 2021 poster Biden and Harris

By Brittany Valentine for Al Dia News

To commemorate the upcoming Inauguration of the Biden-Harris administration, the Hispanic Federation has brought together more than 50 Latino organizations to support the historic event.

“Latino Inaugural 2021: Inheritance, Resilience & Promise” is part of the official five-day slate of programming from the Biden-Harris Presidential Inauguration Committee.

Latino Inaugural 2021 is an hour-long special that will

(Image Credit – latinoinaugural.org)

feature musical performances and inspirational docu-shorts to uplift the Latino community and portray all the contributions they have made in this country.

Actress and activist, Eva Longoria Bastón is set to host the event, and many more big stars will make appearances, including Becky G, Ivy Queen, Rita Moreno, and Edward James Olmos.

There is also an impressive list of musical performances.

Lin-Manuel and Luis Miranda will perform a touching tribute to Puerto Rico, All-Star Tejanos United will perform “America The Beautiful,” and Gaby Moreno and David Garza will perform “Fronteras.”

Much like the “Momento Latino” televised event that aired on CBS in October, this special is focused on telling the stories of Latino excellence, resilience and strength. It will honor members of Latino communities who kept the country running smoothly during the pandemic as members of the frontline essential workforce.

In addition to the celebrity guests and musical performances, several political figures will be in attendance. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto, Robert Menendez and Ben Ray Luján, Senator designate Alex Padilla and Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Rep. Raul Ruiz will join the special to add to the messages of hope, unity and gratitude.

Henry R. Muñoz III, founder of Momento Latino and executive producer of the program, expressed his excitement at welcoming the new administration..

“Latino communities face existential threats every day – from the disproportionate spread of COVID-19 through our communities, to the requirement that we work essential jobs without essential benefits, to the fear of our democracy falling apart and the constant threat of deportation and family separation. We are gathering to celebrate Latinos’ contributions & our power in the country and to honor the next era of American leadership in President Biden and Vice President Harris,” he said.

The program is co-hosted by 52 of the country’s largest and most influential Latino organizations, including Voto Latino, She Se Puede, Justice for Migrant Women and the Dolores Huerta Foundation. Some of the sponsors include DoorDash, Telemundo, Comcast NBCUniversal, Microsoft and Primo TV.

Read the full article at Al Dia News.

US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visits Houston after raising millions for Texas relief
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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has raised millions of dollars in relief money for Texas relief organizations that are working to help those still in need after suffering from the historic winter storm.

The New York lawmaker appeared Saturday at the Houston Food Bank to help distribute supplies and food.

Ocasio-Cortez’s effort is in partnership with 12 Texas organizations getting on-the-ground relief to residents.

She set up the donation website to where contributions will be split evenly between the following the organizations: South Texas Food Bank, Food Bank of West Central Texas, ECHO (Ending Community Homelessness Coalition), Feeding Texas, Corazon Ministries, Family Eldercare, Houston Food Bank, Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, North Texas Food Bank, Central Texas Food Bank, Southeast Texas Food Bank, and The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center.

“These groups are working around the clock to assist houseless, hungry and senior Texans in Travis and Dallas County, and beyond,” the website states.

Ocasio-Cortez hasn’t been the only leader stepping up to the plate. Astros’ Alex Bregman will be hosting a water distribution event Saturday to help those who have been without water for days.

Read the original article at  ABC 7.

Air Force Orders New Review Into Racial, Ethnic Disparities
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The Air Force inspector general will do a second investigation into racial and ethnic disparities across the force, service leaders said Friday, expanding the review to include gender and additional racial categories such as Asian and American Indian.

The latest review comes just two months after the IG released a report concluding that Black service members in the Air Force are far more likely to be investigated, arrested, face disciplinary actions and be discharged for misconduct. The December report found that “racial disparity exists” for Black service members but that the data did not explain why it happens.

The new study also reflects broader campaigns within the Defense Department and the Biden administration to root out extremism and racism. President Joe Biden declared domestic extremism an urgent national security threat in the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The crowd that breached the building as lawmakers were preparing to certify the election was overwhelmingly white and included members of far-right groups.

Acting Air Force Secretary John Roth, who ordered the latest review, said the IG will go directly to Air Force and Space Force service members for input. A survey that will go out to the force soon will look at several different categories: Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, and gender.

Read the full article at HuffPost.

Alejandro Mayorkas Confirmed As First Immigrant, Latino To Head Homeland Security
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Alejandro Mayorkas during a speech wearing a black suit

The Senate voted to confirm Alejandro Mayorkas as the secretary of Homeland Security, putting a department veteran at the helm of the Biden administration’s plans to reverse hard-line policies implemented by former president Donald Trump.

KEY FACTS

Born in Cuba and raised in California, Mayorkas is the first Latino and immigrant to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

The confirmation comes as President Joe Biden seeks to undo four years of a “zero tolerance” approach toward immigration under the Trump administration.

Mayorkas was confirmed 56-43, mostly along party lines. He was the first Biden nominee to face a filibuster from Republicans, which the Senate voted to break on Thursday.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

The Biden administration is expected on Tuesday evening to announce a Homeland Security Department task force aimed at reuniting migrant children who have been separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

KEY BACKGROUND

Mayorkas will grapple with a Homeland Security Department that has been plagued by high turnover in leadership positions and vacancies. A Senate-confirmed appointee has not led the department since Trump pushed Kirstjen Nielsen out in 2019. Mayorkas will also face domestic security threats that have come to light following the Jan. 6 insurrection led by Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol. In a memo released last week, the Department of Homeland Security warned “ideologically-motivated violent extremists” could “continue to mobilize or incite violence.”

CHIEF CRITIC

Several Republican senators lambasted Mayorkas ahead of the confirmation hearing, raising alarm about his time as the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. A 2015 DHS Inspector General Report found that Mayorkas appeared to give politically powerful individuals special access to an investor visa program. “I’ve voted for several of President Biden’s mainstream cabinet nominees,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote on Twitter early Tuesday. “But his choice to run Homeland Security was blasted by the Obama Administration’s own Inspector General for running an immigration law favor factory for powerful Democrats. Bad pick with major ethics issues.”

Read the original article at Forbes.

Why the Term ‘Latinx’ Hasn’t Taken Off Among Latins – And Likely Never Will
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pink "X" for Latinx with flowers with grey background

At first blush, the word Latinx –the gender-neutral, non binary term used to describe the nation’s diverse Hispanic population– seems ubiquitous.

Latinx pops up regularly in press releases, in news headlines, in social media posts, in campaign mailings. But scratch below the surface, and you find little substance under the semantics.

According to a by now widely cited study undertaken by the Pew Research Center and published in August, only one in four Latinos are even aware of the term Latinx, and just 3% say they use it to describe themselves. The results run

(Image Credit – Billboard)

across demographics: Even though use of the term Latinx is greater among younger Latinos, only 7% of those ages 18 to 29 say they use it; among those 30 and older, that percentage drops to an abysmal 2%.

“The population it’s meant to describe isn’t even aware of it,” says Mark Hugo Lopez, Director of Global Migration and Demography research at the Pew Research Center, and one of the authors of the August 11 study. “It’s a striking finding.”

And it mirrors what we see in the Latin music universe. Although the term “Latinx” can be often found in English-language press releases, especially when pertaining to U.S. born or raised artists, it’s a rarity in Spanish language releases. Most telling, very few (if any in recent memory) Latin artists self-describe as Latinx, even when directly asked what term they prefer to use.

And a recent, informal survey of more than 30 Latin music executives found that only one preferred the term Latinx over Latin.

“The artists, especially those coming from Latin America, don’t identify as Latinx,” says Matthew Limones, SoundExchanges’ Miami-based manager of artists & label relations, who deals with on a daily basis with Latin acts of all stripes and levels of fame. “Those who are born here, who are raised here and understand the mentality of inclusion, they understand what it means. But I don’t find they use the word.”

Alex Padilla, California’s First Latino Senator, on Needing to ‘Walk and Chew Gum’ in Washington
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Alex Padilla wearing a black suit sitting down speaking into a microphone

By The New York Times

He was appointed to fill Kamala Harris’s seat and will take office as his state struggles with record Covid rates, especially in the neighborhood he grew up in.

As Kamala Harris steps into her role as vice president and out of her Senate office this week, the Democrat Alex Padilla will become the first Latino senator from California, a state where Latino residents make up 40 percent of the population, and will be one of six in the Senate. Mr. Padilla, who has been California’s secretary of state since 2015, is heading to Washington at a time when the country — and California — is deeply mired in the pandemic and a sluggish vaccine rollout. His own political career began with

(Image Credit -Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

immigration activism, and he believes that the country needs a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants. He said he was confident that the Senate would be able to focus on an impeachment trial and the pressing need to get the pandemic under control — “we will walk and chew gum at the same time.”

These are lightly edited excerpts from the conversation.

California is roughly 40 percent Latino, yet you’re the first Latino senator from the state. Why do you think that took so long? What does it say about California and the political influence of Latinos?

I don’t know if I have a 170-year answer to that question, but it’s a big moment for the Latino community in California. I’m sure there’s a lot of researchers and academics with various theories. I just know that it has just added to the sense of urgency with which I’m prepared to tackle the job.

A lot of big issues need attention — increasing access to health care, combating climate change, a comprehensive immigration reform, closing the education gap. But for the time being, it’s all through the lens of Covid, in recognition of the devastation the damage has caused for far too many families, far too many communities, especially Latino communities and other communities of color.

Let’s talk about the pandemic. Los Angeles is currently an epicenter of the pandemic, and Pacoima, the neighborhood you grew up in, is an epicenter of that epicenter. What can the Senate do about that?

Read the full article at The New York Times.

These Latinos made a mark in our communities and nation. We lost them in 2020.
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Portraits of Rudolfo Anaya, Naya Rivera, Silvio Horta and Miriam Jimenez Roman.

By Raul A. Reyes for NBC News

2020 has been a year marked by grief and loss, but it is in the spirit of remembrance, not sadness, that we highlight the lives of several Latinos we said goodbye to this year. From Hollywood to Washington, from academia to the armed forces, these are just a few of our “familia” who enriched our communities, our lives and our nation before leaving us.

RUDOLFO ANAYA, 82, a “godfather” of Chicano literature. Anaya is best known for his novel “Bless Me, Ultima”

(Image Credit – NBC News)

(1972), a coming-of-age story set in 1940s New Mexico. “Ultima” follows the relationship between a young boy and a curandera (healer) who comes to live with his family. A bestseller at a time when U.S. Latinos were rarely depicted in mainstream fiction, it has become one of the most acclaimed works in the Chicano literary canon. “Ultima” inspired generations of Latino writers, and it was adapted into a play, an opera and a film.

Books like ‘Ultima’ are part of our personal reading history. Because they are taught in schools, we don’t forget seeing ourselves on the page for the first time,” writer and critic Rigoberto González said. “Seeing names like ours, and figures that are familiar to us, is powerful.” González said he believes “Ultima” will continue to have longevity in libraries and schools and on bookshelves.

Anaya, a prolific author who wrote mysteries, children’s books and travel chronicles, received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama in 2016 for his “pioneering stories of the American Southwest.”

NAYA RIVERA, 33, actress and singer. Condolences poured in from around the world when news broke of the drowning death of Rivera in July. “As a Latina, it’s rare to have rich, complex characters reflect us in media,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted. “Naya worked hard to give that gift to so many.”

Rivera performed throughout her childhood, but it was her role on TV’s “Glee” (2009-15) that catapulted her to fame. Rivera, an advocate for the LGBTQ community, for immigrants and for women’s rights, earned three American Latino Media Arts Awards for her acting and singing. In 2016 she released her memoir, “Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up.”

“She was the rare Afro-Latina on network TV, and when her character came out as gay, it was a historic moment for LGBTQ representation in prime time,” entertainment journalist Jack Rico said. Pointing out that 22 percent of Latino millennials identify as LGBTQ, Rico called Rivera’s portrayal of cheerleader Santana Lopez “groundbreaking,” saying it paved the way for queer characters on shows like “One Day at a Time” and “Vida.”

Rico said he believes Rivera died on the cusp of another career resurgence. “I could see true stardom in her. When people die young it really hurts, because we lose them and also their potential,” he said. “She was a guiding light for all of us struggling for more diversity and representation.”

Read the full article at NBC News.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus urges Congress to vote on national Latino museum in spending bill
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“The lack of full Latino representation,” Latino lawmakers wrote, “has created real blind spots that neglect the role Latinos have played.”

Supporters of the National Museum of the American Latino are making another attempt to get Congress to pass a bill to establish its creation. Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah blocked voice votes to create a Latino museum and a women’s history museum last week, spoiling years of effort.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus sent a letter Monday to House and Senate leaders urging them to include the

                                                                       (Image credit – NBC News)

National Museum of the American Latino Act, HR 2420, in the $1.4 trillion spending bill that Congress is trying to agree on to prevent a government shutdown. The act only starts the process for the museum, which must include a feasibility study, private fundraising and site location studies.

“Latinos have contributed significantly to America’s success while overcoming systemic discrimination, and our stories have been largely erased from U.S. history,” said Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-Texas, who is completing his term as caucus chairman. “The fact that Mike Lee, a United States senator, has no knowledge of the Latino experience further demonstrates the need for a Latino museum.”

Read the full article at NBC News.

Why people are split on using ‘Latinx’
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Depending on which corners of the internet you inhabit, you might have come across the term “Latinx.”

“Latinx” has emerged as an inclusive term to refer to people of Latin American descent, encompassing those who don’t identify as male or female or who don’t want to be identified by their gender. It’s been used by journalists, politicians, corporations, colleges and universities. In 2018, it even made it to the dictionary. But among the people “Latinx” is intended to describe, few have heard of the term — let alone use it. In a new survey, researchers found that only about one in four adults in the US who identify as Hispanic or Latino have heard the term “Latinx,” while just. (Image Credit – Mary Mckean for The Red & Black)                 3% say they use it to describe themselves.

The findings, published Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, the signal just how complex identity is for people categorized as Hispanic or Latino.
“This reflects the diversity of the nation’s Hispanic population, and the Hispanic population of the US thinks of itself in many different ways,” Mark Lopez, director of global migration and demography research at Pew Research Center, told CNN. “‘Latinx’ is just one of those many dimensions.”
‘Latinx’ is more common among younger Hispanics

In the US, the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” are often used to refer to people of Spanish-speaking or Latin American origin. Though they’re often used interchangeably, “Hispanic” refers only to people from Spanish-speaking countries, which includes Latin America and Spain. “Latino” refers to people with roots in Latin America, which includes Portuguese-speaking Brazilians, but excludes Spain.

Those two terms describe a very broad group of people and don’t always align with the ways that those populations identify themselves.
Read the full article at CNN.

The findings, published Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, signal just how complex identity is for people categorized as Hispanic or Latino. “This reflects the diversity of the nation’s Hispanic population, and the Hispanic population of the US thinks of itself in many different ways,” Mark Lopez, director of global migration and demography research at Pew Research Center, told CNN. “‘Latinx’ is just one of those many dimensions.”

In the US, the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” are often used to refer to people of Spanish-speaking or Latin American origin. Though they’re often used interchangeably, “Hispanic” refers only to people from Spanish-speaking countries, which includes Latin America and Spain. “Latino” refers to people with roots in Latin America, which includes Portuguese-speaking Brazilians, but excludes Spain. Those two terms describe a very broad group of people and don’t always align with the ways that those populations identify themselves.

Continue to the full article at CNN News.

The ‘Mexican Beverly Hills’
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How a former white enclave became an aspirational suburb for Latinos in Los Angeles.

I was having dinner at some fancy beach-side eatery in early March when someone said they had just moved to Downey, a Southeast Los Angeles suburb 12 miles south of downtown. The other Latinos at the table oohed. “You finally made it,” someone said. “To the Mexican Beverly Hills.”

In many ways, that is what Downey represents. It’s hoity-toity, gilded and more conservative than surrounding neighborhoods — a status-marking place where the average household income, at $88,000, is significantly higher than in other areas in Los Angeles with a similar

(Photo credit – June Canedo for The New York Times) 

ethnic makeup. In East Los Angeles, which is also predominantly Latino, the average income is $56,000, according to census data. (If you’re wondering, the average income in Beverly Hills is $191,000.)

It’s the kind of place where many people feel entitled enough to not wear face masks despite coronavirus infection spikes, where many homes featured “Thank you, Downey PD” banners at the peak of the George Floyd protests — but where an overwhelming majority of its citizens voted for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. over President Donald J. Trump. (With a vote of roughly 2 to 1 for Mr. Biden, Downey voted more conservatively than Los Angeles County as a whole, which voted for him 3 to 1.)

Continue reading at The New York Times.

Who is Hispanic?
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Hispanic family seated on couch together smiling

Debates over who is Hispanic and who is not have fueled conversations about identity among Americans who trace their heritage to Latin America or Spain.

The question surfaced during U.S. presidential debates and the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. More recently, it bubbled up after a singer from Spain won the “Best Latin” award at the 2019 Video Music Awards.

So, who is considered Hispanic in the United States? And how are they counted in public opinion surveys, voter exit polls and government surveys, such as the 2020 census?

The most common approach to answering these questions is straightforward: Who is Hispanic? Anyone who says they are. And nobody who says they aren’t.

The U.S. Census Bureau uses this approach, as does Pew Research Center and most other research organizations that conduct public opinion surveys. By this way of counting, the Census Bureau estimates there were roughly 60.6 million Hispanics in the United States as of July 1, 2019, making up 18 percent of the total national population.

Behind the impressive precision of this official Census Bureau number lies a long history of changing labels, shifting categories and revised question wording on census forms – all of which reflect evolving cultural norms about what it means to be Hispanic or Latino in the United States today.

Has the Census Bureau Changed the Way it Counts Hispanics?

The first year the Census Bureau asked everybody in the country about Hispanic ethnicity was in 1980. Some efforts took place before then to count people who today would be considered Hispanic. In the 1930 census, for example, an attempt to count Hispanics appeared as part of the race question, which had a category for “Mexican.”

The first major attempt to estimate the size of the nation’s Hispanic population came in 1970 and produced widespread concerns among Hispanic organizations about an undercount. A portion of the U.S. population (5 percent) was asked if their origin or descent was from the following categories: “Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, Other Spanish,” and “No, none of these.” This approach had problems, among them an undercount of about 1 million Hispanics. One reason for this is that many second-generation Hispanics did not select one of the Hispanic groups because the question did not include terms like “Mexican American.” The question wording also resulted in hundreds of thousands of people living in the Southern or Central regions of the US being mistakenly included in the “Central or South American” category.

By 1980, the current approach – in which someone is asked if they are Hispanic – had taken hold, with some tweaks made to the question and response categories since then. In 2000, for example, the term “Latino” was added to make the question read, “Is this person Spanish/Hispanic/Latino?” In recent years, the Census Bureau has studied an alternative approach to counting Hispanics that combines the questions that ask about Hispanic origin and race. However, this change did not appear in the 2020 census.

Source: Pew Research Center

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